Since 1958 FONZ (Friends of the National Zoo) has been funding and supporting wildlife conservation work and educating and igniting interest among families in the Washington, D.C. area to connect with, learn about, and support wildlife conservation. FONZ will be rebranding and relaunching as Conservation Nation in the fall of 2021 to continue its mission to save threatened species and ecosystems.
Looking for job openings? Visit our Careers page.
We're excited to share more with you soon.
What's the future of FONZ? Stay in the know with blog posts from Executive Director Lynn Mento.
Conservation Nation Launch
October 21, 2021
Conservation Nation held its virtual launch event on September 30th and we've been so excited by the feedback and support we're getting. We gave out our 2021 round of Conservation Nation grants to emerging and established wildlife conservationists from the underrepresented groups we're supporting...
A Path Forward
April 2, 2021
It's been an incredibly busy month for the FONZ team. Since we announced the dissolution of our partnership with the Zoo in February, we've been working to transition over some responsibilities, like our membership program, and we're cleaning out our office spaces at the Zoo...
A Humbling Response
February 19, 2021
As I'm sure you've heard by now, FONZ and the Zoo are parting ways. This was an incredibly difficult decision, and this has been a very difficult time for all of us here. But know that our hearts are with you, our amazing members and visitors, guests, event attendees, camp and class families, Snore & Roar...
A Big Decision
February 4, 2021
You may have already seen the news, and if you have, you know that I'm writing this blog post with a heavy heart. FONZ and the Zoo have dissolved our partnership. Beginning this spring, FONZ won't be actively involved at the Smithsonian's National Zoo. This very difficult decision...
For more than six decades, FONZ has worked to save endangered animals while inspiring the next generation of conservationists. Here are some of their stories.
A Call for Conservation on Earth Day
April 22, 2021
Today, we're celebrating Earth Day. For more than 40 years, Earth Day has mobilized more than 1 billion people to take action to save the planet. That's a huge number of people, and it's exhilarating to consider their impact. This year, Earth Day's campaign is...
Four Summers at FONZ
April 6, 2021
When he was a teenager, Stephen Jacobs spent some summers volunteering for FONZ. As a as a junior Zoo aide he met one of his best friends; was inspired to learn American Sign Language; and wrote a few FONZ newsletters, which led to a future of freelance...
From Volunteer to Panda Keeper
March 23, 2021
Juan Rodriguez has cared for pandas, clouded leopards, and cheetahs. He's traveled to Africa and Asia. For the past two decades he's been devoted to conservation work. It's been a long journey, but it’s one with a singular starting point: back in the late 1990s, Rodriguez volunteered with FONZ...
Voices of FONZ
March 11, 2021
For more than 60 years, Friends of the National Zoo has been dedicated to protecting endangered wildlife and providing inspiring educational opportunities at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and beyond. As you can imagine, six decades leads to lots of memories! Recently, we asked our supporters for...